More arrests on Manus Fisheries funds misuse

Two more arrests have been made by members of the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate in Manus over the alleged misuse of Fisheries funds.

This follows arrests made in April and on June 1 against two other senior public servants in the province.

Project officer with Division of Fisheries, Kanawi Pomat (42), of M’Bunai village in the Penabu Nalisopat LLG, and Provincial Fisheries Officer with the Division of Fisheries Paul Mangeu (61) of Worei village, Tetidu LLG, were arrested this week.

They were charged with Abuse of Public Office and Official Corruption by members of Port Moresby based Fraud squad team.

Both men were released on K1000 bail each and are expected to appear at the Lorengau District Court on Friday, 9 June.

The two accused, with other Senior Fisheries officers, are alleged to have held a meeting and resolved to open an account with BSP Bank Lorengau under the name of Manus Fisheries Development account.

Police alleged this took place after a cheque of K100,000 was given by the National Fisheries Authority, made payable to Manus Provincial Government for fishing projects in the Province between 2009 and 2013.

Manus Provincial Police Commander, Chief Inspector David Yapu, said police allege all the activities; from the meeting to the opening of the account and deposit of the cheque, was done without the knowledge and approval of the Manus Provincial Administrator.

He said cheques were raised and used for other activities, not intended for Fisheries projects or promote fisheries work in the Province.

An audit inspection was conducted and revealed that the funds were misused.

PPC Yapu, in commending the work of the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate members in the province, said Government funds must be properly used for intended projects and not abused or misappropriated by people in authority.

He said other serious fraud cases in Manus Province have been referred to them for investigation and appropriate action.


Sally Pokiton